Wednesday, July 01, 2009
A whiter shade of pale: or Jackson, Fawcett and McMahon.
OK, we’re all sick to death of the cult of celebrity death, am I right?
The Great Distractions, keeping the real news of our sad and sorry world at bay. American Idols in American Death.
Our heads turn to peer closely at glass coffins, white horses, a grieving drug addled young son (in the case of FF), a drug-addled dead one and an old man who made an art out of shilling anything for a buck including several million dollars as a paid side kick, paid to laugh, paid for just the right amount of obsequiousness.
Call me an old cynic: But are we all barking mad? Are we all so desperately in need of heroes and heroines that we would all bow so needily at the altar of these three lives?
As to Jackson: where to begin?
A troubled child star, abused mightily by his father as some have it, who in turn carried on the abuse to the degree of catastrophic self-mutilation, multiple surgeries, skin bleaching and anorexia, and that’s all we know of, until more will be revealed, I have no doubt. He made music, he sang, he danced and well, he made heaps and heaps of money. He spent it all. On himself. Foolishly.
Philanthropy, unlike some others in his profession who share their wealth and engage in charitable efforts, did not enter his lexicon. He exited this world leaving more debts than assets. Much like America herself. Of course there is still the dancing on his corpse to be performed in the way of ‘memorial concerts’, new records, DVDs, until every last penny is bled from his cadaver, such being the way of the Jackson family.
I’m not touching on his alleged paedophilia. Though I do note that millions and millions were paid out to the families of child-complainants. I wonder at the powerful lure of carousels and fairgrounds and miniature train journeys for these little boys, and they were all boys. He did not have sleepovers with little girls, much as he professed his love for ‘children’.
And speaking of: I wonder about his children, bought and paid for, no doubt. I wonder at the narcissism of a man who endows all three of his children with his name. I wonder at the cruelty of a father who bleaches the hair of one of his children white. I wonder at the effects of veiling on those children (against their wills) while in public. I wonder at the sanity of a man who dangles a helpless baby over a balcony.
I ask myself how can a man possibly be a good father who wasn’t fathered himself but exploited, abused and deprived of an education. I am appalled at his obvious misogyny in deliberately excluding a mother from these children’s lives.
I wonder at a man who hates himself and his race and his gender so much that he spends decades of his life and earnings on transforming himself from a black man to a white woman. A man who spent nearly a billion dollars in his life time, and all on himself in outlandish shopping trips, thoughtlessly, without a care to the needs of others less fortunate.
And his drug habits only come to life (like his one time father-in-law, Elvis) on his death bed. Another ignonimous death, another hidden drug-addled life, lived selfishly and narcissistically.
As to Fawcett – she too shared the self-mutilation of Jackson, her face and body were a death mask of cosmetic interventiona long before she died, terrified, like Jackson, of aging. Only remembered for her jiggles on Charlie’s angels and that multi-million seller poster of huge hair, visible nipples and perfect teeth.
As to poor Ed, was there a personality? Did he bring smarm into a brand new definition of a well paid profession? And last I heard he had spent his way into bankruptcy begging with friends for loans in the last year before his death. Much like America too.
Are we all complicit in this adulation of failures? For failures they truly are. Yes, they danced and sang and acted, and actors they all were. Perhaps Ed the best of all of them. Are there lessons? Are these three just facets in a mirror of ourselves? Of our profiligate selfish ways, bending before the altar of avaricious greed, terrified of aging, afraid of living and selfish to the point of extinction?
Are we all now grieving our lost, higher selves?